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Phosphorus and carbon availability regulate structural composition and complexity of AM fungal mycelium.

  • Ola Olsson
  • Pål Axel Olsson
  • Edith Hammer
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 443-451
Publication/Series: Mycorrhiza
Volume: 24
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

The regulation of the structural composition and complexity of the mycelium of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi is not well understood due to their obligate biotrophic nature. The aim of this study was to investigate the structure of extraradical mycelium at high and low availability of carbon (C) to the roots and phosphorus (P) to the fungus. We used monoxenic cultures of the AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis (formerly Glomus intraradices) with transformed carrot roots as the host in a cultivation system including a root-free compartment into which the extraradical mycelium could grow. We found that high C availability increased hyphal length and spore production and anastomosis formation within individual mycelia. High P availability increased the formation of branched absorbing structures and reduced spore production and the overall length of runner hyphae. The complexity of the mycelium, as indicated by its fractal dimensions, increased with both high C and P availability. The results indicate that low P availability induces a growth pattern that reflects foraging for both P and C. Low C availability to AM roots could still support the explorative development of the mycelium when P availability was low. These findings help us to better understand the development of AM fungi in ecosystems with high P input and/or when plants are subjected to shading, grazing or any management practice that reduces the photosynthetic ability of the plant.


  • Ecology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • Carbon
  • Mycelium
  • Phosphorus
  • Spores
  • Anastomosis


  • BECC
  • MICCS - Molecular Interactions Controlling soil Carbon Sequestration
  • ISSN: 1432-1890
Pål Axel Olsson
E-mail: pal_axel [dot] olsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 42 47



Research group

Plant Biology



Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Theodor Kindeberg

PhD students, assistant supervisor